City issues ultimatum to Paces Run Apartments; clean up or close - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

City issues ultimatum to Paces Run Apartments; clean up or close down

Pace's Run Apartments (WFXG) Pace's Run Apartments (WFXG)
Statistics of high-crime areas of Aiken (source: City of Aiken) Statistics of high-crime areas of Aiken (source: City of Aiken)

The City of Aiken is giving Paces Run Apartments an ultimatum: clean up or shut down.

Paces Run is well-known as a center of violence in the city. Over the past twenty-four months, ten shootings have taken place there. Of the three murders in the City of Aiken over those twenty-four months, two of them were in Paces Run Apartments. A press release from the City of Aiken calls the apartment complex "an island of chaos in an otherwise safe community."

"The level of crime at this one location is just right off the charts. It's simply unacceptable. Public Safety's not going to put up with it, I'm not going to put up with it, City Council's not going to put up with it, and I believe that I can speak for the residents of this great city," says City Manager John Klimm.

On Thursday, Oct. 5, City Manager John C. Klimm sent a communication to Hampton House Apartments Housing Management Inc., the management company that operates Paces Run. In the letter, he tells the company, “In order for you to avoid having your business license suspended and/or revoked you must supply me with a proposed plan of action to address the reduction of criminal activity at Paces Run within 30 days of receipt of this letter.”

Also in the letter, Klimm lists some statistics about incident reports at the apartment complex. 435 calls were made to Public Safety, which generated 135 incident reports. The crimes listed in the reports include discharging guns in the city, drug violations, assault, theft, sexual offenses, destruction of property, trespassing, burglary, robbery, and murder.

The letter culminates with the insistence that if the management company does not provide the city with a plan to reduce criminal activity within thirty days, the city will revoke the complex's business license.

Mayor Rick Osbon announced earlier in 2017 that Aiken Public Safety would implement a program called AikenStat to collate real-time crime date to help law enforcement target problem areas in the city. The focus on Paces Run Apartments is an example of that guidance.

"There are some really good folks there that have, that are tired of it, and those discussions are beginning. But there's fear, from retaliation to retribution or whatever it may be for those people coming forward. So, we're doing, it's sort of methodical, so we're doing everything we can to protect everybody coming forward.," says Chief Charles Barranco, of Aiken County Public Safety.

“This is a perfect example of what City Manager John Klimm and Chief Charles Barranco have been working toward,” says Osbon. “There are a lot of good people and families living in Paces Run and they need and deserve a safe neighborhood free from fear. Now we have the hard numbers readily available to prove our case as we hold the owners of this property accountable for what is happening there.”

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